The resurgent leadership crisis in the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) appeared to have taken a new twist with the reported absence of the governor of Imo State, Chief Rochas Okorocha, at a meeting of the South-east stakeholders of the party in Awka, Anambra State, last Tuesday.
A statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Bernard Akoma, said Okorocha and the National Chairman of the party, Chief Victor Umeh, were conspicuously absent at the meeting called to find lasting solution to the crisis rocking the party.
The statement said the meeting was among the recommendations made by a five-man peace committee aimed at finding lasting solutions to the crisis rocking the party.
Akoma said both Okorocha and Umeh had earlier consented to the meeting being convened at Awka to discuss the way forward for the party but surprisingly backed out at the last minute.
He said this was despite the fact that Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State and Okorocha had agreed that the meeting should be held on November 6 in Awka.
According to the Publicity Secretary, Obi signed the letter detailing those to be invited for the meeting and dispatched to Okorocha.
This was followed by text messages by Obi himself inviting others including Umeh, to the meeting.
Obi text message read: “Following the recommendation of the committee and as agreed with my brother, Governor Rochas.
“I wish to invite you for an urgent south-east APGA stakeholders meeting on November 6 by 1p.m. in Awka.”
Though neither Okorocha nor Umeh, according to Obi, objected to the invitation, they nonetheless never gave any excuses why they would not attend.
Akoma further explained that the convening of the meeting was sequel to the recommendations presented by the five man committee comprising members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party from the South-east led by its Deputy National Chairman (South), Chris Ejike Uche.
He said the committee consulted with all the stakeholders of the party including Okorocha, Obi and national chairman Umeh on the best way to resolve the crisis in the party before submitting its report with a recommendation for a stakeholders meeting of its members from the South-east.
He also said advance copies of these recommendations were forwarded to Okorocha, Obi and Umeh ahead of the stakeholders meeting and they welcomed the recommendations and applauded the work of the peace committee with assurances to attend the reconciliation meeting.
The committee had recommended that governor Obi and Okorocha should be the convener of the stakeholders meeting.
Giving further insight into what transpired at the meeting, the APGA spokesman said the leaders resolved to continue pursuing peace in the party by meeting more regularly while trying to encourage others to come on board.
“The meeting further suggested that the party should be strengthened and liberalised by constituting its various organs like National Executive Committee, the National Board of Trustees and National caucus among others.
“It further called for adequate geo-political representation at the party political hierarchy to reflect its national outlook. While urging members to work hard for 2015 elections, the meeting suggested the deployment of derivation principles in the allocation of party resources as a way of motivating the people by encouraging healthy competition among members,” he said.
Among those who attended the meeting were National Assembly members, Mrs. Bianca Odumegwu-Ojukwu, all NWC members from South-east and speakers of State Assemblies controlled by the party.